If you take a stroll through the village of Moutse in the Sekhukhune district of Limpopo, you’ll be struck by the profusion of HIV education all around you.

> If you love her, wear a cover
> Don’t be a fool, put a condom on your tool
> Men with balls wear condoms

… and many other similar messages.

That’s because Moutse is home to the Ndlovu Research Centre, one of the foremost private HIV/Aids research facilities in the country.

But that’s not what this story is about…. because if you take your stroll through the village on a Tuesday or Wednesday afternoon, you might be lucky enough to catch a rehearsal of the Ndlovu Youth Choir – a powerful, vibrant, exuberant and colourful group of young people with voices like canaries and smiles as wide as the Limpopo River itself.

And, if choir director Ralf Schmitt has his way, the Ndlovu Youth Choir will soon be the first 100% self-funded youth choir in South Africa.

“We’re extremely grateful for the funding we receive from our donors, but my dream for the choir is ultimately to be financially independent,” he says. “Our choristers are extremely talented and dedicated, with many having performed on stages across South Africa and abroad.”

Ralf has been making the two-plus-hour journey from Johannesburg to Sekhukhune, twice a week, for close to 10 years now.

“The thing about our choir is that it’s not just about the singing,” he says. “Of course, we have to be good at it otherwise we wouldn’t get bookings. But behind the scenes it’s also about providing choristers with a sense of purpose, discipline and pride – as well as equipping them with key life skills and giving them the opportunity to see the world!”

CN&CO recently partnered with the choir to assist with its digital marketing – and so far we’ve loved every minute!

“Right now we’re focusing on getting the choir’s social media pumping as well as boosting SEO across its digital properties,” says CN&CO’s Colin Ford, who recently spent an afternoon watching the choir in action.

“The talent that these young people have is incredible, and it’s obvious they love what they do. As soon as they start to sing, their faces light up and their bodies start moving in with the music. It’s like they just can’t help themselves!”

The choir recently released its arrangement of Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” (in Zulu) in collaboration with Wouter Kellerman, and will soon be filming the music video in Joburg. Take a listen to a snippet of the song:

We think Ed will approve.

The choir is currently rehearsing for the upcoming Christmas season (see video above). There are some amazing South Africanised carols in its repertoire. Click here if you would like to book them for an event.